The Supreme Court won't take up net neutrality - this time

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Three of the Court's justices - Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil M. Gorsuch - would have voted to take up the case, according to the Court's announcement, and overturn a lower court's decision backing the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules, which were originally passed in 2015.

Today, the United States Supreme Court rejected an appeal from the telecommunications industry seeking to vacate the D.C. Circuit's 2016 decision to uphold the FCC's 2015 net neutrality rules.

The Trump administration previous year announced its plan to phase out the program, but federal courts have ruled variously that the phase-out could not apply retroactively and that the program should be restarted. While neither of the latter Justices cited a reason for dismissing themselves from the appeal, Justice Kavanaugh had been involved in the initial ruling while seated on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

In a letter attending the government's petition, Solicitor General Noel Francisco explained that the high court should take the cases now - even though the appeals courts have yet to render decisions on the matter - to ensure the justices can resolve the dispute during the current term.

Supporters say net neutrality protects consumers, while opponents say it discourages investment. Four of nine justices must agree to hear a case, but only three voted to grant the petitions.

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The Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments in the case pending before it in May but has not yet issued a ruling. In January, Alsup put the phase-out of the program on hold, saying it would be devastating to the 700,000 affected immigrants. But in September 2017, the the Trump administration announced its plans to terminate DACA, making some of the 800,000 young adults who qualified for the program eligible again for deportation.

Last month, frustrated by delays, the department filed notice that it would seek the high court's intervention if the 9th Circuit court did not rule by October 31. The D.C. Circuit upheld the regulations, prompting industry groups to escalate the case to the Supreme Court.

In February, the Court denied the administration's request to step into the fight to end DACA, stating in its order that it believed the lower courts would act expeditiously in resolving the cases.

In the meantime Trump has been able to add another conservative justice to the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, who was approved in early October.

In this October 9, 2018 photo, police office guards the main entrance to the Supreme Court in Washington.

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